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What was Alicia Keys playing on SNL?


Magpel

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I almost never watch Saturday Night Live, but found myself in front of it with friends last, um, Saturday, the season opener. The musical guest was Alicia Keys (sp?). I'd never heard of her, but she certainly had a fine jazz-inflected "real" instrument R&B band. Anyway, Alicia herself was seated what I could only describe as a baby-baby grand piano. A tiny little thing, more like a model of grand piano. The closer camera shots of her revealed a panel on the thing that makes me think it was largely electronic--lots of buttons and knobs, but the look and shape of the thing makes you think hammers and strings too. Did anyone see this and does anyone know what that it?

 

BTW, not exactly my cup of tea genre-wise, but the quality of the live mix was simply stunning.

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I didn't see the show, but from what you describe, it sounds like she was playing a high-end home digital piano whose cabinetry is designed to give a grand piano appearance. There are a few of those on the market.

Stephen Fortner

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Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Originally posted by Magpel:

BTW, not exactly my cup of tea genre-wise, but the quality of the live mix was simply stunning.

Good quality sound to be sure, but for my taste, the background singers were too loud.

 

I was wondering what that was, too. I have no idea.

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I saw that show, too. It was definitely a home-oriented digital piano. The cabinetry is mostly to look pretty in your living room, although the speakers are in the "body" of the piano. It's most likely a Kurzweil. I saw her a few months ago on Jay Leno playing a PC88, so she probably has an endorsement deal with them.

 

Peace all,

Steve

 

This message has been edited by SWBuck1074@aol.com on 10-02-2001 at 07:52 PM

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Steve

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I didn't see SNL that night, and had never heard Alicia Keys until I saw the benefit show on TV a couple Fridays ago. I was super impressed by her. 19 years old, amazing voice, and obvious heavy piano chops. Yeah, Roberta Flack comes to mind. I might even go buy her album...a rare thing for me to do with a new artist.

 

- Jeff

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I went to the Montreaux Jazz Festival this summer, and the pianist for Ohio State(I think) used a similar digital piano. His was a Yamaha, so I'd assume that Alicia's was that aswell. However the sponsorship with Kurzweil would make sense.

 

I've seen her (on tv) numerous times and I must say, I'm not impressed. Though she's talented for a 19 year old, her sound is rather simple. I've heard rumors of her playing Carnegie Hall at the age of 9, but from her chops, she doesn't seem to have that virtuoso hand positioning. Likewise, I heard her entire album, and it's very bland. All the songs sound the same...and I do love R&B and hip-hop (both old and new) so I'm not prejudiced against her due to the genre

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A few real nice cuts on the CD, just keep in mind she's not a Patrice Rushen type player. The 'Rock With You' cut on the CD is pretty tight. Isaac Hayes collaborated with her on that one, petty nice 70's era string arrangements and full orchestration.
TROLL . . . ish.
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I pretty much like the whole CD. My favorite music is R&B and think it is one of the top R&B albums to come out in the last couple of years. That might not say a whole lot but the album is definately worth a listen to. If you buy R&B it will not be a bad buy in that genra right now. It's still a top selling CD selling IMO on word of mouth as much as air and video play.

My studio is my instrument

RnBeatz

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Originally posted by schmoron:

I went to the Montreaux Jazz Festival this summer, and the pianist for Ohio State(I think) used a similar digital piano. His was a Yamaha, so I'd assume that Alicia's was that aswell. However the sponsorship with Kurzweil would make sense.

 

I've seen her (on tv) numerous times and I must say, I'm not impressed. Though she's talented for a 19 year old, her sound is rather simple. I've heard rumors of her playing Carnegie Hall at the age of 9, but from her chops, she doesn't seem to have that virtuoso hand positioning. Likewise, I heard her entire album, and it's very bland. All the songs sound the same...and I do love R&B and hip-hop (both old and new) so I'm not prejudiced against her due to the genre

 

Alicia Keys is J Records (former Arista head Clive Davis' label) new artist. She is a 19 year-old classically-trained pianist that self produced her first PLATINUM CD-an incredible feat for a new, young female artist, period, by anyone's standard. Her CD is good, but a bit over-hyped compared to releases from people like Jill Scott. Her songs ARE simple and they do sound the same since they are mostly in A-Minor (hence the CD title). But considering this is R&B and not classical, the music isn't expected to be too complex anyway, right?

 

I do think it is hard to determine anyone's playing capability from a TV performance. She is an EXCELLENT pianist, and seeing her on TV or SNL doesn't do her justice. Her viruosity cannot be determined while playing R&B-something like that you would need to see and hear her live and in person to get a more accurate picture. It is kinda like determining a person's singing ability while they are singing a simple children's song.

 

I put odds that she will be around for a long time, not as a performer, but as a songwriter and producer...

 

 

This message has been edited by MusicWorkz on 10-04-2001 at 11:18 AM

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I saw a little bit of Alicia's performace on SNL. Though I'm not a big modern R&B fan (I do think Maxwell, Dag, & Sweetback are AMAZING), I really dug what I heard. As for the keyboard she was using, check out page 24 of the September 2001 issue of Keyboard. There's a photo of the new Technics SX-PR1000 (I think that the one in the picture). From what I remember, it looks similar to the one she was playing, though that may not have been it.
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It's most likely a Kurzweil. I saw her a few months ago on Jay Leno playing a PC88, so she probably has an endorsement deal with them.

 

Kurzweil does not do endorsements.

-Mike Martin

 

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I think her album is annoying. Mostly because it's filled with banal songs and that all-to-common-these-days vocal riffing that I guess is supposed to pass for emotion. These R&B singers need to study 70's era Stevie Wonder to learn how it's done. (Not his more current stuff -- he's as guilty as they are. Guess he felt the need to jump on the bandwagon).

 

Her cover of Prince's "Why Don't U Call Me" is right on the money, though.

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